Well, I completed another trip around the sun and came out relatively unscathed. Along the way, as always, I learned a few things about this game of life. I guess I shouldn’t say “game” as the outcomes can sometimes be disastrous. Maybe I’ll say “contest” because to win you have to compete and be serious about it. However, you can’t get too serious and really that’s what this blog is all about…
If I’ve learned anything this past year it’s that life is all about balance. Finding that balance is the sweet spot you’ve been pursuing. The balance I’m talking about isn’t an equality of events like equal time working and equal time playing. It’s more like seeking to get better while appreciating how far you have come. It’s control but not with too tight a grip. It’s following the rules, questioning the rules and sometimes not following the rules. It has ups and downs; times for striving and times for letting things be. It’s a sweet, delicate balance that you can and should figure out. Figure it out!
Whenever and wherever you are engaged in an activity that falls into the “too much” category, there will always be something behind it. Whether it be pleasurable or fear based, too much of anything always has something behind it that you may not be aware of, yet. Too much work with all of its promised financial reward takes a toll on things of far greater value. Too much fun, too much liquor, too many women (or men) all have a penalty and some pain. Defining what is too much is where the fun (and the contest) begins. It’s not complicated and you already know the answer, but maybe you’ve been avoiding it for some time now. Don’t avoid it!
I learned that if you’ll take the time to ask the questions, you’ll usually get the answer. Our job is never to know all the answers, but rather to take the time to ask the questions. Never fall for the catch-all, cop-out that life is a mystery or life is unfair. Life becomes very clear when you ask the right questions, to the right Source. Life is not so much unfair as unknown and again your job is learn, then know. How much time have you and I wasted wallowing around in the bog, perplexed and confused, killing ourselves trying to figure things out? And usually, if we’re honest, we didn’t find our solutions from endless worry, but generally a short time after we finally let it go. Let stuff go!
Relationships comprise a large, if not the largest, part of our existence. We spend so much effort determining how the other person should be and only a quarter of that time figuring out how we should be. If we’re single we search for the perfect mate yet dismiss our own imperfection. We look for and focus on flaws, shortcomings and differences, never considering that our differences are necessary, and that our flaws and shortcomings require another’s assistance. My insatiable desire for fun is mitigated by my wife’s sense of responsibility and her persistent accountability is offset by my pressure to break out of the norm. It’s balance that endures not the high peaks of total agreement and desire. It’s the friction that smooths the path, where two hearts learn to work together. As my good friend Mark Wallace once said, “Marriage isn’t two lives molding into one life, it’s two separate lives working together as one.” You’re not supposed to be the other person and they’re not supposed to be you. Remember that and you’ll find the elixir to all of your relationships. Just do you!
I’ve learned how to be good and how not to be so “good.” Good is such a subjective term and is loaded with hidden requirements. It’s not being “bad” to eat chocolate cake, no matter how much you weigh. Nor is it good to exercise until your knees ache. It’s not bad to sleep in nor is it always good to get up early. It’s a balance. Trying to be good to please God is a plan destined to fail. How good can your good be? Does your being good exact such a toll on you that you end up hating yourself and other people? Do your requirements for being good exhaust you? Have you become so good that no-one can stand being around you? Remember when your Mom told you to be a good boy? Did it help you or did it teach you to be deceptive? You see, this whole being “good” thing is like cancer that eats away at you until you die. It’s far more productive to recognize that you’re not always good and just accept it for what it is. A diet doesn’t work because you always do it right, it works when you consistently get yourself back on track. Quit abusing yourself and get back on track!
Traveling around the sun for another year taught me many lessons. But, by far the greatest lesson is in learning to find the balance. Life is all about responsibility and having fun; discipline and letting loose; adhering to the rules and willfully breaking them. It centers on relationships that involve people very different from yourself. Life is a process, a journey and requires that you continue to grow despite the adverse conditions. It’s about figuring out how to love and accept yourself for your good and your bad, no matter how good or bad you are.
I’m looking forward to another rotation around the sun and learning to figure out this thing called ‘getting older…’
Just some good thoughts…